Product Review: SiriusXM Business Internet Radio – Grace Digital GDI-SXBR1
Product Name: SiriusXM Music for Business Internet Player
Manufacturer: Grace Digital
Review Date: January 7, 2015
Since SiriusXM launched their Internet Music for Business Service back in 2013, businesses around the country have been signing up in droves. Dumpsters around the country have literally been filling up with dusty Muzak players as businesses have moved to the new service. The popularity of SiriusXM’s new streaming business has even surprised, well, SiriusXM. Having a internet connection service can do wonders for your business, especially one that has hosted pbx, making sure that your business phone solutions are ready for you as well as help your business thrive.
The formula for success has been pretty simple. SiriusXM took 85 of the most popular channels in the free world and started streaming them to restaurants, retail shops, and other businesses. 30 channels were scrubbed clean of DJ chatter and station IDs and programmed with business-friendly content. SiriusXM then teamed up with Grace Digital to build a commercial sound system that is long on features and short on price.
The end product: (1) a streaming business music service with vastly more variety than anything in the market priced below the competition at $29 per month, and (2) a commercial-grade streaming digital music player with advanced feature sets priced at a third of the competition at $199.
SiriusXM Business Internet Radio Product Review – Model GDI-SXBR1
Let’s talk hardware. As SiriusXM’s largest commercial reseller, we’ve have the chance to do some long-term testing with thousands of the new SiriusXM GDI-SXBR1 Business Internet Radios over the past year or so. Instead of keeping all this knowledge about business sound systems to ourselves, we thought we’d take a moment to share our experiences with the Grace Digital Internet Radio. Here is what we found …
What We Liked
(1) The SiriusXM Radio Portal
With the purchase of your GDI-SXBR1 and SiriusXM Business Internet subscription, you get access to the SiriusXM Radio Management Portal. The portal, which is accessed over the web, has features usually reserved for only the highest of high-end business music services. These features include advanced management functions like central control, daypart scheduling, and remote monitoring. Access to the portal is free with your SiriusXM Business Internet Subscription. Here is a quick description of some of the most common features:
Central Control – Manage and control one radio (or hundreds of radios) from a single web interface. Perfect for businesses with multiple sites that want to keep all their facilities singing to the same tune.
Scheduling – Access the portal to set daypart schedules in which you can program the radio to automatically change channels, volume, and even turn on and off based on time and day settings.
Monitoring – At a glance you can check to see if your radios are online and what channel they are playing.
(2) No Computer Required
No computer is required to set up and manage the GDI-SXBR1. All the basic user functions, from entering your username and password to selecting channels can be done using the controls on the face of the radio. You’ll of course need a computer to access the web portal, but this is only necessary if you’re interested in the advanced features described above.
The GDI-SXBR1 has an optional four-digit security code that can be used to lock out the physical radio controls. This is a great feature for managers that want to block employee access to unwanted channels and radio features. With the included use of network monitoring tools employees will be able to review the data coming to and from the device as well, increasing security, decreasing unwanted surprises, as well as much more.
(4) Easy Set Up
The internet music player is easy to set up. Period. We had the player up and running in just a few minutes. The player saw our WIFI network on startup and connected as soon as we entered our network password. We then entered our user name and password and the player immediately connected to the SiriusXM internet radio player stream. The WIFI internet radio player setup process took less than five minutes and was easy enough for anyone to do.
Networks with firewalls and other advanced security measures may require a little help from the IT department. The internet music player uses standard internet protocols, so setup should be fairly easy even on large corporate networks.
(5) Dual Outputs
The GDI-SXBR1 has dual RCA outputs, which are standard enough to connect to any commercial audio system. The dual outputs are nice because they allow you to play the music as background music in your business and also connect to your phone system to play for callers waiting on hold. With the SiriusXM Music for Business subscription, you can add the on-hold music at no additional charge.
(6) Large Buffer
The quality of your internet music is only as good as your internet connection … except when you have a massive buffer in place. The GDI-SXBR1 has a massive buffer, three minutes exactly, which helps to keep your music playing during periods of low network bandwidth or high network congestion.
(7) No Timeouts
Have you ever had your Pandora stop playing and ask, “Are you still there?” This is known as a timeout. Timeouts are no big deal when your radio is in your home, but timeouts are a nuisance when they stop the music in your business. As a truly commercial unit, the GDI-SXMBR1 never times out and continues to play unlimited streaming music, whether you are listening or not.
(8) Strong Outer Case
The look of the GDI-SXBR1 isn’t beautiful by any means, but it sure is functional. The outer case is made of a lightweight aluminum that won’t crack or brake if dropped. The case can be mounted on a wall with a couple screws, placed in a data rack on a shelf, and is small enough to sit atop an amplifier.
What We Didn’t Like
(1) Unimpressive Display
The screen on the internet music player is utterly unimpressive. The screen is a four-line monochrome backlit display that looks like it was designed for a life in a dusty data closet. We do like that the radio displays the channel, artist, song, and time on the screen during song play. The low-end screen looks like an intentional cost cutting measure, and perhaps it was the right decision. Unimpressive, but functional.
(2) WiFi – Not Recommended for Business Use
The WiFi on the GDI-SXBR1 is easy to set up and, although it works well, we were able to interrupt the connection by restricting bandwidth and adding congestion on the network. We definitely recommend hard-wiring the internet music player using the LAN port on the back of the box. We found the wired connection to work flawlessly during periods of high interference and congestion.
(3) User Interface and Controls
The user interface and menu system feels dated and slow. That being said, this isn’t a product that you access every day like your phone. It’s made to be set up and left alone. The user interface is perfect for that type of use.
(4) No App for Phone
As of now, the GDI-SXBR1 can be controlled either through the controls on the face of the radio or through the web portal. We’d love to see Grace Digital release an app to control the GDI-SXBR1. Hopefully that’s coming down the pipe soon.
Overall, we give the SiriusXM Business Internet Player high marks. We know from over a year of torture testing that product is stable and works extremely well in a business environment. We should point out that the GDI-SXBR1 will only work with the SiriusXM business service. This streaming sound system will not work with a consumer subscription. If you have a GDI-SXBR1 and need it activated, please contact Dynamic Media at 800-684-7050. We’ll be happy to help you get SiriusXM up and running in your business.
ABOUT DYNAMIC MEDIA
Dynamic Media is an authorized SiriusXM Music for business reseller and one of the nation’s fastest-growing music for business providers in the country. Headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Dynamic Media provides background music for business, DirecTV for business, customized on-hold and in-store messaging services and commercial audio systems. Dynamic Media offers turnkey solutions that include sales, service, and post-installation support for thousands of subscribers in the U.S. and around the world. Dynamic Media employs a network of partner technicians that reach every zip code in the United States. The company was co-founded by Dr. Ryan Santangelo and his brother Pete Santangelo over ten years ago. Find out more at www.DynamicMediaMusic.com.